TERRE HAUTE —
The Vigo County School Board has done exactly what we hoped it would do — and hinted at in our earlier editorial on the subject — by converting its July 22 session concerning a proposed multi-million dollar centralized swimming center from a public hearing within a board meeting to a presentation and public comment session only.
It also did the right thing by moving that session from what would have been a cramped board meeting room to Sarah Scott Middle School to accommodate everyone who might want to learn and to comment at such a session.
There may well be very good answers to concerns about taxes, curriculum, costs and other issues, and, if so, the public needs as much information about those topics as possible. Specifically, the public needs to know, in detail, why it might make more sense to build a centralized swimming center for West, South and North Vigo high schools’ swimming teams than to renovate the existing pools at those three sites. Such a presentation-and-comment session as the board has announced can go far toward accomplishing that need. And that should meet the board’s responsibility to inform and to listen.
Members of the public also have a responsibility, and that it is to approach the session with an open mind and respect for board members and school administrators. Too often, we have seen such sessions where dissenting voices are heard fall into shouting and derogatory accusations instead of a reasonable exchange of questions and answers. Disagreement is fine — a trait of democracy, in fact — but disagreeability is not. The board and administrators work hard for the best interests of school children and the community at large. They have earned respect and deserve to be treated respectfully.
Mark your calendars: The session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. July 22 at Sarah Scott Middle School, 1000 Grant St.